At SIG, we know there is more to allotments than simply gardening – they play a vital role in individual and community well-being! Roots to Recovery (R2R) is our award-winning garden-based project providing a therapeutic growing space to reduce social isolation and increase physical and emotional well-being for the most vulnerable people in Luton.

R2R brings people together, nurturing and growing friendships, not just vegetables. We help people become happier, healthier, and job-ready through various learning opportunities.

Our regular attendees have lived experience and joined R2R because they were experiencing or recovering from:

  • Social isolation
  • Trauma
  • Mental ill-health
  • Substance and or alcohol use disorder
  • Autism
  • Homelessness
  • Learning disability
  • Abuse
  • the Criminal Justice System

For many people, coming to the garden is their only time to socialise outside their accommodation, participate in activities independently, and meet new people.

R2R has a one-acre site offering opportunities for people to get involved in a range of activities:

  • Access to a therapeutic open space and workshop
  • Extensive range of non-clinical support services, training programmes and social groups designed to empower and boost health and wellbeing
  • A place to grow and cook organic food, enhance healthy eating and manage food budgets
  • Access to healing opportunities in the natural environment
  • Plant and harvest produce together, talking and receiving support from an understanding network of people via peer support

Benefits to the community

Roots to Recovery has a significant community benefit in the Luton area.

  • We are an essential voluntary sector social prescription referral partner. To date, we have received over 2,000 referrals from mental health trusts, GPs, clinicians, and community groups to help reduce social isolation and promote well-being for community members, improving outcomes and reducing the need for health and social care interventions and crisis management
  • We improve Luton’s deprived residential areas, which have high antisocial behaviour. By creating sustainable, growing spaces, we help reduce fly-tipping and food poverty. Our gardening and maintenance community team work with the local authority to identify areas to build pocket gardens and raised beds and plant these with fruits and vegetables that the local community can help themselves once ripe. We provide free gardening and maintenance support to vulnerable residents in council accommodations to help maintain their gardens.
  • R2R helps increase community fresh food production. We grow 600kg of fresh produce yearly to support the local community, community kitchens, and food banks.
  • We deliver educational workshops and talks to community partners and schools on environmental conservation and the benefits of growing vegetables and healthy eating.
  • R2R is our very own long-term solution to tackling unemployment locally. We get members work-ready in a holistic and non-forced environment, improving health and wellbeing through meaningful contributions across volunteering and paid employment opportunities. R2R volunteers donated 12,000 hours over the last three years.


What our participants say

Support this project

£5 – could pay for seeds and gardening equipment.

£10 – could provide someone with basic horticultural training.

£25 – could sponsor someone to volunteer at R2R, giving them a sense of purpose and helping them gain work experience.

Our sponsors

Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation

The National Lottery Community Fund

Harpur Trust

BMLK Heath and Care Partnership